THE BELLE OF Ball­room

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - Community News - Story & pho­tos by CARMEL LIDDELL

Un­til fate in­ter­vened, the ques­tion how best to cel­e­brate Mum’s 81st birth­day, weighed heav­ily on Janet Sk­intzis’ mind. Then the Se­niors Dance at Cas­tle Hill Show­ground was resched­uled to Mon­day 3rd Septem­ber (Mum’s birth­day), and the an­swer be­came clear: take her danc­ing!

NOW YOU MIGHT THINK THAT an odd choice, but con­sider this: Janet’s mother Hazel New­man, knows her way around the dance floor. She has waltzed, fox­trot­ted, quick­stepped, cha-cha’d and tangoed for many years. She met hus­band-to-be Hor­rie, at a good old fash­ioned tea dance and the cou­ple res­i­dents of Glen­haven for thirty years – con­tin­ued to dance. Hazel loved danc­ing so much, that 28 years ago she ini­ti­ated the Se­niors Dance as a fun, fundraiser. For 24 years she hosted the bi-an­nual tea dance, the pro­ceeds from which went to char­i­ties such as the Alzheimer’s Foun­da­tion. To­day (and for the last 4 years) the event has been or­gan­ised by Hazel’s friends John from 365care, and An­nette from Job Quest. There have been some changes to the tra­di­tional knees up held dur­ing the Orange Blos­som Fes­ti­val and in Se­nior’s Week. This year, pro­ceeds from the raf­fle were do­nated to a Drought Re­lief fund. And, in ad­di­tion to Big Band mu­sic, there’s a new sound - a touch of coun­try. Cue the Line Danc­ing group from Mt Druitt! Ea­gerly they took to the floor, stomp­ing, hitch­ing, heel- fan­ning, toe- fan­ning, rock­ing and hip bump­ing in uni­son- ye-ha! Dress? Ca­sual. There were sev­eral pairs of jeans, a few checked shirts and a cou­ple of cow­boy hats, but not a ball gown in sight. No mat­ter, to para­phrase the lyrics of an old Fats Waller song –

The piano was thumpin’ The dancers were bumpin ’That there spot was more than hot - In fact, the joint was jumpin’!

And what of Hazel, the belle of

ball­room? Not so steady on her pins these days, Hazel New­man sat cast­ing an ap­pre­cia­tive eye around the Har­vey Lowe Pav­il­ion. Sur­rounded by a bus­load of fel­low res­i­dents from a nurs­ing home in Suther­land, her toes were tap­ping and brown eyes bright. Daugh­ter Janet, had brought cake. Hazel was the guest of hon­our. Well, what more could a woman want? Happy Birth­day, Hazel!

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